- Inventory number
- Ribera, José de
- The Martyrdom of Saint Philip
- 234 cm x 234 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, “pinturas recogidas de las Casas Arzobispales”, 1747, n. 808; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de vestir [2ª]”, 1794, n. 808; Royal Palace, Madrid, “[1ª] pieza de vestir”, 1814-1818, s.n.)
The Apostle, who was the patron saint of King Felipe IV, preached in Scythia and in Hieraopolis, the city where he was crucified with ropes and buried at the age of 87. Ribera shows him nude, tied to the crosspiece at the moment when three executioners begin to raise him in presence of a group of heathens. The female figure with a child in her arms at the left may be an allegory of Christian Charity.
For some time, this painting was thought to be the torment of Saint Bartholomew. It is one of the must disturbing representations of martyrdom in all of Baroque painting. The luminous background, light colors and mastery of the diagonal composition are characteristic of works from Ribera's second period.
This work is signed and dated on the stone in the lower right corner.